Television buffs have cause to celebrate the New Year. Two new channels, Kermit and Hallmark Entertainment Network, will debut in India next month.
Both the channels are being brought in by the K K and Lalit Modi-promoted Modi Entertainment Network (MEN) which will be in charge of marketing and distribution.
"The channels will be available in India from the first week of January," Modi Entertainment Network executives told Business Standard on the sidelines of the Broadcast, Cable and Satellite India `98 here.
Though the pricing of the decoders have not been finalised yet, cable operators would be allowed to downlink the signals free of cost initially, the executives said.
A decoder for the channels is likely to cost about Rs 34,000. Later, MEN proposes to charge Rs 6 per home per month for the two pay channels being beamed through Apstar-2R satellite.
MEN currently looks after distribution of sports channel ESPN and has an agreement with Disney for merchandising of Disney products and a tie-up with a foreign company for developing film multiplexes in India.
The Kermit Channel is designed by world famous creators of family programming.
The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment.
The channel, aimed at children and competing with the likes of Cartoon Network from the Turner-Time Warner stable, claims to be first channel big enough for the whole family.
The children's educational bloc on the Kermit Channel provides engaging, award-winning programmes for children, while teaching them lessons in life.
The programme line-up include Jim Henson's Emmy Award winning series Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock and Pappyland.
The Hallmark Entertainment Network is a 24-hour satellite channel that delivers dramatic, award-winning, serials and movies made for the small screen that are not released in theatres.
The Hallmark movies include those featuring Oscar-winning performers such as Woody Allen, Ben Kingsley, Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones, Paul Newman and Peter O'Toole and other stars who rarely appear on TV series such as Anjelica Houston, Kathleen Turner and James Earl.
Adding to the quality of the Hallmark presentations are regularly scheduled presentations of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, the longest running and most award-winning dramatic series of films in television history.